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Great News - Measures to stop illegal bird hunting in Hungary.

MME/BirdLife in Hungary, in cooperation with 8 other conservation organizations have just launched a 5 years LIFE+ project that will aim to find effective and alternative solutions to crimes toward birds in Hungary, with a special focus on the conservation of the Eastern Imperial Eagle.

Birds suffer severely from different types of crimes across Europe, however most of the cases are reported from the Mediterranean region where illegal poisoning, shooting, trapping, nest looting and trading of birds are common practices.

In Hungary, more than a thousand protected birds have been poisoned, including White-tailed Eagles, Saker Falcons, and Common Buzzards. While the total European population of Eastern Imperial Eagle is just over 200 pairs, 53 were poisoned and 6 shot, in Hungary in the last six years.

The European Commission, the Ministry of Rural Development of Hungary and the 9 partners of the project will co-finance the project.

Eastern Imperial Eagle

The Eastern Imperial Eagle - Aquila heliaca -  is a large eagle that breeds from southeastern Europe and Central Asia. Most populations are migratory and winter in northeastern Africa and southern and eastern Asia. They live in open landscapes like forest-steppes, steppes and deserts with small forests or single trees, but also in agricultural areas when there is enough food and trees for building the large nests.


Adults have a large head, the wings are long and straight and the strong feet have long, curved talons. This large, dark eagle is generally dark brown with white scapular markings and pale golden-cream nape. It has a grey base to tail. Eyes are brown, bill is black/grey, cere, legs and talons are yellow. Juveniles are brown fading to pale buff with dark flight feathers.


They are silent mostly, except during the breeding season. During the nesting period, it is very noisy, uttering bark-like sounds “rao,rao,rao”. Other harsh and very short calls may be heard, only one “kaok” in flight, and rapid “kokokoko” or “gock-gock-gock”


Feeds on mammals and birds. Important prey species are ground squirrels. Bird species taken include pheasants, partridges, pigeons and waterfowl. They take carrion. These eagles hunt either from a perch of from flight.


The female lays 2 or 3 eggs and incubation time is about 43 days. The young spend between 70 and 79 days in the nest.

The Eastern Imperial raises 2 chicks more often than other large Eagle.

Conservation Status – Vulnerable

The Eastern Imperial Eagle is a very rare species with a small global population, and is likely to be undergoing continuing declines, primarily as a result of habitat loss and degradation, adult mortality through persecution and collision with power lines, nest robbing and prey depletion. Breeding sites are threatened primarily by intensive forestry in the mountains, and by the shortage of large indigenous trees in the lowlands.


Ask Aves Birding Tours/Safaris/Adventures to create a custom tour for you to see these magnificent birds.


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